First there was the silence of aiming. Next the first couple gunshots of the eager. Eventually, the shots cascaded from the lined-up Cadets so fast that it sounded reminiscent of the opening drum solo of Van Halen’s “Hot for Teacher.”
Although it sounds like fun, 6th Regiment, Advanced Camp’s Weapons Group Zero training was a serious event that demanded intense concentration.
Each Platoon took a prone-supported position on a shooting range at Fort Knox, KY, and fired volleys of five rounds from their M4 rifles at a target approximately twenty-five meters away. The goal: grouping their shots together, and adjusting their sights until that group reaches the bulls-eye.
Although each rifle shoots straight, this event is designed to get each Cadet better in tune with the weapon so that they can perform as well as possible with it. “There is doctrine that specifies how they should be shooting, but everyone kind of shoots differently; they have different bodies, arm length, whatever the case may be,” said 2nd Lt. Zachary Crifasi. These many small factors give each person a different shooting style.
The Cadre were never far from each Cadet to give them help in reaching their goal.
“They’re not going to let you fail, they want you to succeed,” said Cadet Aiden Grant Poppe from the University of Missouri. They carefully observed each Cadet’s shooting habits and coached them on the proper steps to align their sights.
Cadre never missed the opportunity to lecture about proper firearm safety, but these Cadets had been well prepared with handling their rifles since first arriving at Advanced Camp.
“When they come out on the range, it’s like second nature to them,” said Crifasi. “Don’t overthink, but be sure to put safety first at all times. I can’t say it enough.”
All of this was in preparation for the Cadets to pass their rifle qualification test the next day, and 6th Regiment left the range on July 2, 2021, properly prepared. 2nd Lt. Crifasi noted that in his short time in the Army, this was probably the “smoothest” range training he had seen.